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Cabul

Cabul, a city of Afghanistan, lat. 34 10' N. and long. 66 55' E.; it is the capital of a province of the same name, and of the country, and is situated at the foot of the Takt-i-Shah and Amai hills at an elevation of about 6,000 feet above sea level. The mildness of the climate and the fertility of the soil make it one of the most agreeable cities of Asia, and it is noted for its fruits, especially apples, grapes, melons, pears, and pomegranates. The winters, however, are at times very severe, and snow lies upon the ground to the depth of several feet. The flat-roofed buildings are generally of two and three storeys high; and the town is divided into four by the main bazaar, whose streets diverge from the central square. On a spur of the hills south of the city is the citadel of Bala-Hissar, which formerly contained the royal palace, but is now abandoned. A mile north of that may still be seen the encampment where the British army lay in 1880, as also traces of the old encampment of 1839; and there is a British cemetery. Cabul has made much progress of late years in the way of constructing roads and in cultivation, and it is fast becoming an important station for Indian trade. Besides its trade in camel-hair cloth, carpets, cotton goods, silks, shawls, and skins, it is becoming a depot for European goods. It is also noted for its horse market. The inhabitants are a mixed race - Afghans, Hindoos, and some Jews. The town began to play a part in modern history in 1739, when Nadir Shah took it and established a dynasty. Under Timour it became the capital in 1774; the English made war upon it and captured it in 1839, and in 1842 happened the celebrated massacre of the British army, when only one man escaped. In 1854 Dost Mohammed became an ally of the English, but later Shere Ali espoused the Russian cause and England put Yakoub Khan upon the throne. On the murder of Major Cavagnari, the British resident, Sir Frederick Roberts made his noted campaign of 1879-80, which ended in putting Abd-er-Rahman upon the throne, and the treaty of Gandamak which gave the English control of the Khyber Pass. The river Cabul rises at Sar-i-Chasma near the source of the Helmund, and flowing through the city follows a course generally S.E. of 270 miles and joins the Indus.

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